Quadricycles are European categories of four-wheeled microcars defined by limitations in terms of weight, power and speed.
Two categories are defined:
Light quadricycles (L6e)
Light quadricycles (L6e) are defined by Framework Directive 2002/24/EC as: "motor vehicles with four wheels (...) whose unladen mass is not more than 350 kg, not including the mass of the batteries in case of electric vehicles, whose maximum design speed is not more than 45 km/h, and:
- whose engine cylinder capacity does not exceed 50 cm3 for spark (positive) ignition engines, or
- whose maximum net power output does not exceed 4 kW in the case of other (e.g. diesel fuelled) internal combustion engines, or
- whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 4 kW in the case of an electric motor.
These vehicles shall fulfil the technical requirements applicable to three-wheel mopeds of category L2e unless specified differently in any of the separate directives".
Therefore, in many European countries such as France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, light quadricycles can be driven without a full motor car (category B) or motorcycle (category A) driver’s licence, and in some countries without any licence at all (being vehicules sans permis). However, in more recent years there has usually been at least a requirement to obtain a basic road safety certificate (e.g. BSR and ASSR1 in France, analogous to CBT in the UK) along with at least a provisional A1/B1 class licence, meaning only older drivers (typically those who came of legal driving age before 1998) retain permission to literally drive such vehicles "without a licence".
Heavy quadricycles (L7e)
Quadricycles (L7e), also referred to as Heavy quadricycles, are defined by Framework Directive 2002/24/EC as motor vehicles with four wheels "other than those referred to (as light quadricycles), whose unladen mass is not more than 400 kg (category L7e) (550 kg for vehicles intended for carrying goods), not including the mass of batteries in the case of electric vehicles, with a design payload not more than 200 kg (passenger) or 1000 kg (goods), and whose maximum net engine power does not exceed 15 kW.
These vehicles shall be considered to be motor tricycles and shall fulfil the technical requirements applicable to motor tricycles of category L5e unless specified differently in any of the separate Directives".
France was the first country to define technical standards and traffic rules for quadricycles. The French ministerial decree of May 29, 1986 legally defined the quadricycle as a vehicle included in the moped category, equipped with four wheels and a body.
In 1992, the European Union published Directive 92/61/EEC which considered that quadricycles fell into the same category as mopeds. Framework Directive 2002/24/EC then refined this definition by distinguishing between light and heavy quadricycles (L6e and L7e categories). The European Commission now wants to revise this 2002/24EC directive in order to simplify legislation, to improve road safety and to set new standards for gaseous emissions.
Furthermore, Directive 2006/126 (3rd Driving Licence Directive) establishes a common framework for light quadricycles driving licences. It imposes the same requirements for light quadricycles as for mopeds, including the driving age, for which it recommends 16 years as a minimum. The transposition deadline of the directive is 19 January 2011.
- Citizens' summary EU proposal for a Regulation on L-category vehicles (two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles)
- "DIRECTIVE 2002/24/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 18 March 2002 relating to the type-approval of two or three-wheel motor vehicles and repealing Council Directive 92/61/EEC". Lex EUROPA Website. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
- "EQUAL’s answer to the European Commission non-paper MCWG meeting". EUROPA Website. Retrieved 2009-02-18.